The life of Trayford Pellerin ended in a blast of 11 gunshots fired by Lafayette police.  For many people, that’s how they know the man.

But to friends and family, Pellerin is much more – a giving and kind Black man of few words who loved his family, loved to cook and loved his work. His life had struggles, and recently he was coping with mental health issues.

On Saturday, those who knew him well and those who knew him only by his tragic death joined to mourn his killing the night before at the hands of police officers responding to a routine disturbance call in Lafayette, Louisiana.

“My family is hurting. My sister-in-law is hurting. My brother is hurting,” said Choicey Pellerin, his aunt. “I’ve never seen nothing like this before.”

According to the Louisiana State Police, the agency investigating the shooting, Lafayette officers tased Pellerin and continued to pursue him for nearly half a mile as he walked away from them. As a group of about six officers closed in on him when he approached the entrance to a gas station store, Pellerin was shot multiple times. Officers said he was carrying a knife.

“A son was taken,” said Ron Hanley, a lawyer representing the Pellerin family. “A brother was taken, a cousin, a nephew.”

Choicey Pellerin remembered her nephew as a quiet and generous man who loved to cook and loved to cut hair.

She said her favorite memories of him were his smile and his meals. She recalled for the brief period when the two lived together, he would make sure she came home from work every day to a home-cooked meal.

“He loved to cook for me,” Choicey Pellerin said. “He did get a chance to live with me for about a year, and every day when I got off from work I had a home-cooked meal.”

Trayford Pellerin loved to spend time with his family, she said.

“He was very quiet. He had a big heart. He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said. “He was just an overall great kid. He didn’t deserve this.”

About a decade ago, Pellerin earned his GED certificate, making good on the high school career he didn’t complete as a teen.

Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer hired to represent Pellerin’s family during the investigation into the shooting, said relatives believe Pellerin’s final moments were marked by a mental health crisis.

“His family believes that he was suffering a mental illness crisis and what he needed was a helping hand. But what he got was what looks like 11 bullets,” Crump said.

Crump called for the officers involved in the shooting, who have been placed on paid administrative leave, to be fired immediately.

Source: USA Today